|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:30-32 The Lord will judge each of the Israelites according to his ways. On this is grounded an exhortation to repent, and to make them a new heart and a new spirit. God does not command what cannot be done, but admonishes us to do what is in our power, and to pray for what is not. Ordinances and means are appointed, directions and promises are given, that those who desire this change may seek it from God.
Verses 30, 31. - That work was to produce repentance, hope, and fear. The goodness and severity of God alike led up to that. For a man to remain in his sin will be fatal, but it is not the will of God that he should so remain. What he needs is the new heart and the new spirit, which are primarily, as in Ezekiel 11:19, God's gift to men, but which men must make their own by seeking and receiving them. So iniquity shall not be your ruin; better, with the margin of the Revised Version, so shall they not be a stumbling block (same word as in Ezekiel 3:20; Ezekiel 7:19; Ezekiel 14:3) of iniquity unto you. Repented sins shall be no more an occasion of offence. Men may rise on them to "higher things," as on "steppingstones of their dead selves."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therefore will I judge you, O house of Israel,.... The case being fairly stated, the charge removed, instances to the contrary given, the Lord, as Judge, proceeds to bring the controversy to an issue, and to pass the definitive sentence, and to deal with them in the way of his providence as they deserved:
everyone according to his ways, saith the Lord God; not according to the ways of their father, but according to their own ways: this refers, not to the last and general judgment, but to some sore temporal punishment, which God, as the righteous Judge, would inflict upon them for their sins, according to the just desert of them; but whereas, notwithstanding all their wickedness, insolence, and blasphemy, the Lord was desirous of showing mercy to them, rather than proceed to strict justice; he exhorts and advises them to the following things:
repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; this is to be understood of a national repentance for national sins, to prevent national judgments, being an address to the whole house of Israel; and not of evangelical repentance, which is the gift of God, and of an external reformation, as the fruit of it; and not of the first work of internal conversion, which is by the powerful and efficacious grace of God; though, were both exhorted to, it would not prove that these are in the power of men, only show the want and necessity of them, and so be the means of God's bringing his chosen people to them. The phrase, "yourselves", is not in the original; both words used signify "to turn"; and may be rendered and explained thus, "turn" yourselves, and "cause others to turn" (p); let every man turn himself from his evil courses, and do all he can to turn his brother, or his neighbour, from the same; so Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Melech interpret them. The Targum is,
"turn you to my worship, and remove from you the worship of idols:''
so iniquity shall not be your ruin; meaning temporal ruin, as it deserved, and they were threatened with; and which might be prevented by repentance and reformation: or, "shall not be a stumbling block to you" (q); an hinderance, an obstruction in the way of their enjoyment of temporal blessings.
(p) "convertimini et facite converti", Pagninus, Montanus, "sub. proximos"; so some in Calvin; "quisque suam fratrem", Munster, Vatablus. (q) "et non erit vobis in offendiculum", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
30-32. As God is to judge them "according to their ways" (Pr 1:31), their only hope is to "repent"; and this is a sure hope, for God takes no delight in judging them in wrath, but graciously desires their salvation on repentance.
I will judge you—Though ye cavil, it is a sufficient answer that I, your Judge, declare it so, and will judge you according to My will; and then your cavils must end.
Repent—inward conversion (Re 2:5). In the Hebrew there is a play of like sounds, "Turn ye and return."
turn yourselves, &c.—the outward fruits of repentance. Not as the Margin, "turn others"; for the parallel clause (Eze 18:31) is, "cast away from you all your transgressions." Perhaps, however, the omission of the object after the verb in the Hebrew implies that both are included: Turn alike yourselves and all whom you can influence.
from all … transgressions—not as if believers are perfect; but they sincerely aim at perfection, so as to be habitually and wilfully on terms with no sin (1Jo 3:6-9):
your ruin—literally, "your snare," entangling you in ruin.
Ezekiel 18:30 Parallel Commentaries
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